Everything Has Changed Because of RED!
CD Review of Taylor Swift's RED - by Sherry Bach
The prologue Taylor wrote for RED is, in itself, a song and a must read.
The next thing that demands attention after the prologue is the photography throughout the CD jacket which was done by Sarah Barlow. I would choose Sarah as a photographer based on this project alone without seeing any of her other works. There are at least 26 pictures of Taylor throughout the CD package and they are all amazing. Sarah has captured Taylor differently than I have seen other photographers capture her and has done it in a way that seems to show a more natural side of Taylor. Taylor has rewarded her demographic for "buying" her music with a picture book keepsake that includes all lyrics.
The Deluxe version of RED has a total of 22 tracks, three of which are original demo recordings or acoustic versions of inclusive tracks which show that those songs are still incredible even as demo recordings and stand alone. Truth is, every song on this project could stand alone as a demo recording and Taylor has outdone herself yet again; RED is her best work to date. Making every new CD better than the last is not an easy task for any artist but Taylor has accomplished that goal over and over with her music. I believe one of the reasons for that is that she continually grows as a songwriter, lyrically and musically by, first of all studying music other than her own, including other cultures, and secondly by co-writing on a continual basis.
The title track RED has so much energy and motion that it could wake a corpse. Producers include Dan Huff, Taylor and of course Nathan Chapman who I believe has been an integral part of Taylor's success. There is just something about the two of them together as a whole that multiples their individual talents exponentially and creates magical musical sparks. I was very pleased to hear Paul Franklin's unmistakable steel guitar on this song although it is more prominent in "Begin Again".
Taylor co-wrote with several folks on RED. Track 3 "Treacherous" was written with Dan Wilson, a US songwriter, producer and musician whose producing and songwriting highlights are too numerous to mention here and I, I, I like it. Three songs on RED were co-written with Max Martin and Shellback. Martin is a Swedish music producer and songwriter linked to many successful artists and different genres of music. Shellback, also a Swedish producer, songwriter and musician has a list of production credits that scroll through many pages. Liz Rose gets a co-writing credit as well on "All Too Well" and this is the song on the CD that sounds most like Taylor's earlier music. "The Last Time" was co-written with Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol and Jacknife Lee, an Irish music producer.
Taylor takes risks with her music and in doing so expands her territory as The Prayer of Jabez speaks about. In life and in music, if a person is not willing to take risks, growth will not be achieved. RED is a tangible witness to the musical growth of this very talented and beautiful lady.
The feeling I get from listening through RED, and I don't know if this was intentional or not, is that I am touring around the world with Taylor. It's as if she has assigned each city or country their own song with their own production according to what the people have told her they like musically, and she has tied it all together with a pretty Taylor Swift creative ribbon giving away a piece of herself to New York, LA, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Australia, and so on; RED will not be boxed in to one genre of music, nor will it be stationary in any one place. RED takes its listener to emotional places where there is no fear of feeling alive; after all, that is the reason music was created in the first place and this is one of the many reasons Taylor Swift has been so successful…she gets it!
RED has more fingers in the production pot than any of Taylor's other works. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" was produced by Martin and Shellback; "The Last Time" was produced by Jacknife Lee; "Holy Ground" and "The Lucky One" were produced by Jeff Bhasker; and "Everything Has Changed" was produced by Butch Walker. Add Dan Huff, Nathan Chapman and Taylor to the producing mix as well as many cream-of-the-crop musicians and the project winds up being a 22 track explosion of musical genius. My only question regarding this project is: "How in the world will she top this one?"
It's hard to pick a favorite off of RED, but I must say that "Everything Has Changed" which Taylor co-wrote with Ed Sheeran, is one of my favorites, as is "Begin Again" which Taylor wrote alone. But then there's "I Almost Do" and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" precisely because we are never ever getting back together, like ever. Oh forget it! As usual with a Taylor Swift CD, I cannot pick a favorite; it's impossible.
I am prouder than ever to be called a "From Day One Die-Hard Taylor Swift Fan!
Sherry Bach was raised by a country cover band and is a freelance writer, published author and songwriter, who has been writing since she was eight years old. Many of her works can be found online by googling "sherrybach".